Here’s what you should know today.

1. Instagram is building an ecommerce team in New York City

Product director Blake Barnes has been involved in the hiring. The group will include up to 50 people working on designing what ecommerce will look like on Instagram.

There are no plans to launch anything imminently. An Instagram representative confirmed the hiring plans but declined to elaborate on the company’s product plans.

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2. Cisco sees doubling in digital banking clients

Around 4.5 per cent of Thai banking customers currently use digital payment, a proportion that will rise significantly in the next few years, driven by the development of information-technology infrastructure and security, according to Cisco.

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3. Singapore tops The Economist’s Asian digital transformation index

The EIU’s ‘Connecting Capabilities’ report shows Singapore is leading the way in Asian Digital Transformation Index. It notes that the city-state’s strong performance is primarily due to its well-developed digital infrastructure, as well as a highly supportive and coordinated set of government policies in support of infrastructure development, business use of technology and entrepreneurship.

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Krungsri Bank is planning to launch a subsidiary for fintech investment to join the fintech craze, reports The Nation. It seems no bank in Thailand wants to be left behind as Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikorn Bank have already launched venture-capital companies to invest in start-ups and fintech.

According to Thakorn Piyapan, Head of Krungsri’s Consumer Group,

The initial registered capital of the new subsidiary is set at $286,000 (10 million THB).

The bank will divide its venture capital investment into three phases:

  1. The first stage is investment via domestic and foreign funds in order to become familiar with new fintech trends.
  2. The second stage will entail direct investment in fintech operators and start-ups that already have products the bank is interested in.
  3. The third stage will be an extension of the second stage

Investment decisions will comply with Krungsri Group’s own agenda, while the parent bank, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, will provide advice.

Krungsri will work to transfer its digital banking and innovation business to the new company in order to focus on developing fintech itself under the Krungsri RISE Fintech accelerator program, which aims to fund new startups. The bank will add 10 more staff to oversee venture capital.

According to Thakorn, maximizing the use of data will help Krungsri bank reduce operating costs in the future. On top of this, the bank is also looking to expand its network of branches, and will reach 703 by the end of this year, adding on from its current count of 670 nationwide.

A version of this appeared in The Nation on July 18. Read the full version here.

BRI Launches Satellite

Source: Sindonews

Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), the country’s second-largest lender by assets, launched BRISat — a commercial telecommunication satellite — to connect 10,650 BRI branches across the archipelago digitally over the next few years.

The bank plans to transform itself into the biggest digital banking network in Indonesia by 2019. BRISat is the first satellite owned and operated by a bank. Traditionally, banks all over the world rent satellite services from telco companies to support their operations.

“We will develop a number of financial applications and make the most out of our new satellite to make BRI more efficient,” said Asmawi Syam, the President/Director of BRI — which specializes in providing loans for small and medium enterprises.

The $250 million satellite was launched by the world’s leading satellite launch company Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center — Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite will be stationed at a geostationary orbit above Papua.

Connecting the economy across the islands

Asmawi said BRI is now more than ready to compete in digital banking against counterparts in the region, ahead of the semi-integrated financial market for ASEAN member countries — scheduled to be open by 2020.

Muliaman D. Hadad, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, or OJK, said the satellite should benefit the whole of Indonesia’s banking sector.

BRI has around 50 million customers all over Indonesia and operates more than 9,800 conventional outlets, which include head offices, branch and sub-branch offices and SME loan outlets. It also offers more than 100,000 e-Channel outlets.

The scale of the lender’s operations means it needs network support from 23 satellite transponders. In the past, the bank’s satellite-based communication network has been relying on services from 9 satellite service providers in Indonesia.

BRI had been spending about Rp 500 billion per year to rent satellites. Buying the BRISat outright is equivalent to the cost of renting satellites for 7 years. The satellite maker promises BRI it can use BRISat for at least 17 years.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Globe on June 20. Read the full article here.